Social enterprise can be challenging to define, in large part because the concept has been evolving rapidly in recent years and increasingly blurs the lines of the traditional business, government and non-profit sectors.
Social Enterprise Alliance suggests the following basic working definition:
Organizations that address a basic unmet need or solve a social problem through a market-driven approach.
Social enterprise is not a silver bullet, but it is a promising approach to fulfilling unmet needs and fostering genuinely “triple-bottom-line” organizations – those simultaneously seeking profits, social impact, and environmental sustainability.
It’s certainly not the only solution, but it is most definitely a solution.